Creating successful vendor relationships. Carriers are looking for reliable business partners who can help them with manage expenses and serve their clients. (Photo: Shutterstock)

For many years, procurement was simply the department that bought and sold services. This outdated view ignored the fact that suppliers are critical to finding success in the market and attaining profitability. Today, they should be considered as a part of the overall business strategy that will give your company a competitive advantage.

During our tenure, which has spanned everything from claims management to business process outsourcing, we have had responsibilities that included vendor management. Not a day went by when someone wasn't knocking on our door. However, what we were looking for often wasn't what they were selling. Our biggest frustrations in these roles were vendors who tried to make our processes fit into their product rather than taking the proactive role of innovating their products to improve our processes.

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